Tarte Flambée: A Sort of Alsatian Pizza


[Photograph: Adam Kuban]

OK. Up till now I guess I've been a bit coy about letting on where it is Girl Slice and I are honeymooning. Despite the fact that I'm all over the damn internet, I am a fairly private person. Forgive me. Future Adam and Future Girl Slice are in France. By now, I suspect they have eaten some tarte flambée at some weird Parisian chain that Girl Slice loves called Flam's.

This is quite fitting, since it's PBNPW/Fusion Pizza week on Slice. Girl Slice blogged about tarte flambée (aka Flammenküche) on this site shortly after we started dating and somehow was able to wheedle André Soltner's recipe for the stuff out of the folks at the French Culinary Institute. I will quote from his recipe in describing the stuff:


The name of this dish, either in French or in Alsatian, refers to a flame—even though there is no flame. But originally, these tarts were baked in a village baker's oven, and during the baking, the flames of the fire licked into the oven over the tarts. This is a very traditional Alsatian dish, still popular today, in fact more popular now than it was 30 years ago. In the southern part of Alsace, where I come from, this dish was once rare—but now it is served all over Alsace. Many Alsatians go to small restaurants for their light evening meal, and this is what they often have—with Alsatian wine. Tarte flambée is like a pizza, but made with bacon, onion, cream, and fromage blanc. You usually cannot get fromage blanc in America, so I frequently use cottage cheese, and it works very well ... when I go home to Alsace, we make a feast of eating Flammenküche.

The photo above shows the tarte flambée at The Modern, a restaurant in NYC's Museum of Modern Art, where Alsatian chef Gabriel Kreuther plies his trade.


The crust is not airy or puffy. It's pretty much cracker-thin and flaky — like some bar-style pizza you may have had. In fact, it reminds me a lot of some of the Chicago/Midwestern thin-crust pizzas I've eaten.

If this kind of crust is not your bag, it might be the toppings that lure you. The smoky bacon adds just enough savoriness and saltiness to counter the rich crème fraîche and sweet sautéed onion.

if you want to try this stuff and live in NYC, I would recommend The Modern. There's also a Chowhound tread about finding the stuff in NYC.

Or, you could try making it yourself. Again, here's Girl Slice's post, which contains a recipe: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2005/07/718.html